How do scientists determine the age of fossils using radioactive dating

Henry Morris as follows:.

All radiometric dating methods use this basic principle to extrapolate the age of artifacts being tested. These long time periods are computed by measuring the ratio of daughter to parent substance in a rock, and inferring an age based on this ratio. This age is computed under the assumption that the parent substance say, uranium gradually decays to the daughter substance say, lead , so the higher the ratio of lead to uranium, the older the rock must be.

While there are many problems with such dating methods, such as parent or daughter substances entering or leaving the rock, e. Geologists assert that generally speaking, older dates are found deeper down in the geologic column, which they take as evidence that radiometric dating is giving true ages, since it is apparent that rocks that are deeper must be older.

Dating Fossils – How Are Fossils Dated? - inencomtoke.gq

But even if it is true that older radiometric dates are found lower down in the geologic column which is open to question , this can potentially be explained by processes occurring in magma chambers which cause the lava erupting earlier to appear older than the lava erupting later. Lava erupting earlier would come from the top of the magma chamber, and lava erupting later would come from lower down. A number of processes could cause the parent substance to be depleted at the top of the magma chamber, or the daughter product to be enriched, both of which would cause the lava erupting earlier to appear very old according to radiometric dating, and lava erupting later to appear younger.

Other possible confounding variables are the mechanisms that can alter daughter-to-parent ratios. We can see that many varieties of minerals are produced from the same magma by the different processes of crystallization, and these different minerals may have very different compositions.

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It is possible that the ratio of daughter to parent substances for radiometric dating could differ in the different minerals. Clearly, it is important to have a good understanding of these processes in order to evaluate the reliability of radiometric dating. Other confounding factors such as contamination and fractionation issues are frankly acknowledged by the geologic community, but are not taken into consideration when the accuracy and validity of these dating methods are examined.


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The following quotation from Elaine G. Kennedy addresses this problem. Contamination and fractionation issues are frankly acknowledged by the geologic community. For example, if a magma chamber does not have homogeneously mixed isotopes, lighter daughter products could accumulate in the upper portion of the chamber. If this occurs, initial volcanic eruptions would have a preponderance of daughter products relative to the parent isotopes.

Such a distribution would give the appearance of age. As the magma chamber is depleted in daughter products, subsequent lava flows and ash beds would have younger dates. Such a scenario does not answer all of the questions or solve all of the problems that radiometric dating poses for those who believe the Genesis account of Creation and the Flood.


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  • It does suggest at least one aspect of the problem that could be researched more thoroughly. The problems inherent in radiometric dating often cause them to be so unreliable that they contradict one another rather than validating each other.

    It would really be nice if geologists would just do a double blind study sometime to find out what the distributions of the ages are. In practice, geologists carefully select what rocks they will date, and have many explanations for discordant dates, so it's not clear how such a study could be done, but it might be a good project for creationists. There is also evidence that many anomalies are never reported.

    There are so many complicated phenomena to consider like this that it calls the whole radiometric dating scheme into question. Only then can you gauge the accuracy and validity of that race. We need to observe when the race begins, how the race is run are there variations from the course, is the runner staying within the course, are they taking performance enhancing drugs, etc. All bases must be covered if we are going to accurately time the race.

    This is the major flaw in radiometric dating, e.

    Relative Dating

    Secondly, you must have an observable time span so we can be certain nothing has affected the amount of the radioactive element being measured, e. Finally, we need to be certain about the end or finish point.

    Radioactive Dating of Fossils

    This is some finite point in the future. Without an accurate starting time, an observable span in between, and an observable finish, our measurement cannot be deemed accurate. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

    How Do Scientists Date Ancient Things?

    For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

    Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles, Rom 1: Beware of people who subscribe to a theory based upon naturalism and materialism exclusively. If you blindly accept the Theory of Evolution, you are in danger of believing a fairytale for grownups called the Theory of Evolution. They point to minor changes within an organism, e.

    How Do Scientists Determine the Age of Dinosaur Bones?

    But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes. Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object. By examining the object's relation to layers of deposits in the area, and by comparing the object to others found at the site, archaeologists can estimate when the object arrived at the site.

    Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques. Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon content. Carbon, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.

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